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Tuesday, January 12, 2016


1. Find you local wildlife rehabilitator - I found mine through the PA Fish & Game Commission, but each state has it's own permitting procedures. There is no national database at this time.
2. Ask what should be done, if anything for the injured creature.
3. Follow instructions from the expert

Sounds simple enough right? Here's why I bring this up...

Mom and I were walking the other day and we came upon a Mallard duck. It was caught in a bush and had broken it's wing. Now, I like to think I know a little bit of everything, but in this case, I knew NOTHING about duck-doctoring. Sounds like yet another reality show, huh?

We headed home with a plan. We were going to check the internet (and by WE I mean ME!) and see what the next step would be to help this poor little guy. Yes, I knew it was a GUY because I payed attention at least once when the topic/TV show/documentary pointed out the differences. It's the color. Plus I asked him to tell me all he knew about the females of his species. He remained strangely silent on the subject. HAD to be male.

Anyway.... no return calls were received until the next day. The local Fish & Game Commission gave me the official title of who I should be looking for - a wildlife rehabilitator. I was surprised to hear we have NONE in the county I live, nor the wealthiest county in the area that is right across the river. None. Hmmmmmmm.....

The next best bet was to go to the nearest location, which for me was in a town about a half-hour away. We went and retrieved the injured bird without too much trouble. It's times like these it would be soooooo nice to channel my own Dr Doolittle and talk to the little guy, but....

It's easy to forget that wild animals are meant to be wild. I know Mom wanted to keep him around, or at least care for him, but in talking with Tracie, she said it's usually best to give the animal nothing. Just make it comfortable in a dark and quiet place until you can take him/her to a wildlife specialist. The cool thing about these folks are they get the training needed for a variety of local critters and network with each other to get practical experiences from people who have dealt with each species. They have the knowledge to help where we would just have YouTube videos, which may or may not allow us to deal with the problem.

from the brochure Tracie gave me -


Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of providing aid to injured, orphaned, displaced or distressed wild animals in such a way that they may survive when released to their native habitats. The rehabilitation process includes direct care of wildlife through arranging suitable release sites.

Wildlife rehabilitation also involves anticipating and helping to prevent problems with wildlife as well as humanely resolving human-wildlife conflicts. Wildlife rehabilitation is part science, part education, part problem-solving, and part care-giving. it is a growing activity with a rapidly expanding base of knowledge and ever-increasing professional standards.

Wildlife rehabilitation is regulated by state and federal wildlife agencies. These laws expressly prohibit people from keeping wild animals as a pet and also prohibits the general public from providing rehabilitative care to wildlife. Even though people often have the best intentions when finding a wild animal in distress, the laws are valid and serve two purposes: Wild animals carry diseases which can be transmitted to people. Some of these diseases are very serious and can be fatal to humans without treatment. Secondly, wild animals have specific care and nutritional requirements.

Often a well-meaning person can do more harm than good, therefore, wildlife rehabilitators need state or federal permits obtained after being trained to provide specialized care that reduces risks to humans and animals, and increases the chances for the animals return to health and successful release back to the wild.

In most cases, where human and wildlife collide, wildlife suffers. Wildlife rehabilitation gives these wild animals a second chance to live free in their natural habitat.

So, just like watch repair, car painting, or plastic surgery, it's best left to the experts. The fact we have so few in the area is sad. Here in PA, there are MANY folks who love the outdoors. They enjoy nature and all that is has to offer. Boating, fishing, and hiking as well as numerous other outdoorsy things are more thrilling because of the creatures we see along the way. Unfortunately, some animals lose when they meet US, so what can we do?

If you live around in central PA, there are few choices. I went to Raven Ridge Wildlife Center 1828 Water Street, Washington Boro, in Lancaster county. It was the closest, and is one of the newest in the area. They officially opened their doors January 1st of 2015 and in the first 10 months of operation, admitted over 850 animals. Their facility is in need of many improvements in order to support the amount of help required. They could use your help with upgrades as well as what is needed to continue their mission of giving PA wildlife a second chance. If you want to match MY donation of $25, you can go [here]. It is tax deductible so if you need a place to spread your wealth, there is none better than being an angel to our treasures in the forest.

Maybe instead of money, you would like to donate your TIME? Go [here] to learn how.

It felt right that we did what we could for some living being that needed help. I'm sure you would have done the same.

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